The Bullock Texas State History Museum is the one place big enough to tell the whole "Story of Texas!" Explore engaging exhibits, special-effects films, programs for the whole family, and Austin's premier IMAX Theatre.
We're a city with no shortage of history or legend. In fact, both are very much alive throughout Austin. But as you go exploring, take note that history isn't just found in our architecture, monuments and museums. It's in Texas' last true dance hall, the Broken Spoke. In the gas-station-turned-diner, Threadgill's, where Janis Joplin once sang. And in Barton Springs, a natural pool in the center of town, first discovered in the 17th century. And that's just to name a few.
Our storied past begins with a settlement named Waterloo. Immigrants from Germany, Sweden and Mexico were the area's original inhabitants, but extreme periods of growth followed our renaming and becoming the state capital in 1839. The 1850s saw the first building boom with the construction of the first Capitol building in 1853. A second building boom occurred in the 1870s with the arrival of the railroad. In 1883, Austin became a college town with the founding of the University of Texas at Austin. Then the magnificent Driskill Hotel opened its doors to a now bustling city in 1886. And after a fire destroyed the original building, the current Capitol was completed in 1888, standing taller than our own nation's Capitol. With its construction, the skyline we know today began to take shape.
We're proud of our past. Our rebellious spirit. And the people who have called Austin home. From authors to activists, artists to athletes, musicians to politicians, they were all drawn to this unusual oasis. And that legacy continues, as Austin's population has historically doubled every 20 years. Now, it's your turn to see why. Get out there and be a part of our history. We offer free, guided historic walking tours to get you started. And check out our new Historic Austin brochure.